Jean Rhys' spell-binding novel "Wide Sargasso Sea", inspired by Jane Eyre and winner the Royal Society of Literature Award is beautifully repackaged as part of the Penguin Essentials range. 'There is no looking glass here and I don't know what I am like now...Now they have taken everything away. What am I doing in this place and who am I?' If ...
Jean Rhys' spell-binding novel "Wide Sargasso Sea", inspired by Jane Eyre and winner the Royal Society of Literature Award is beautifully repackaged as part of the Penguin Essentials range. 'There is no looking glass here and I don't know what I am like now...Now they have taken everything away. What am I doing in this place and who am I?' If Antoinette Cosway, a spirited Creole heiress, could have foreseen the terrible future that awaited her, she would not have married the young Englishman. Initially drawn to her beauty and sensuality, he becomes increasingly frustrated by his inability to reach into her soul. He forces Antoinette to conform to his rigid Victorian ideals, unaware that in taking away her identity he is destroying a part of himself as well as pushing her towards madness. Set against the lush backdrop of 1830s Jamaica, Jean Rhys' powerful, haunting masterpiece was inspired by her fascination with the first Mrs Rochester, the mad wife in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. "Compelling, painful and exquisite". ("Guardian"). "Brilliant. A tale of dislocation and dispossession, which Rhys writes with a kind of romantic cynicism, desperate and pungent". ("The Times"). "Rhys turns a menacing cipher into a grieving, plausible young woman, and one whose story says whole worlds about global mixtures, about the misunderstandings between the colonized, the colonizers and the people who can't easily say which they are". ("Time"). Jean Rhys was born in Dominica in 1890, the daughter of a Welsh doctor and a white Creole mother, and came to England when she was sixteen. Her first book, a collection of stories called "The Left Bank", was published in 1927. This was followed by Quartet (originally Postures, 1928), "After Leaving Mr Mackenzie" (1930), "Voyage in the Dark" (1934) and "Good Morning, Midnight" (1939). None of these books was particularly successful and with the outbreak of war they went out of print. Jean Rhys dropped from sight until nearly twenty years later she was discovered living reclusively in Cornwall. During those years she had accumulated the stories collected in Tigers are Better-Looking. In 1966 she made a sensational reappearance with Wide Sargasso Sea, which won the Royal Society of Literature Award and the W. H. Smith Award. Her final collection of stories, "Sleep It Off Lady", appeared in 1976 and "Smile Please", her unfinished autobiography, was published posthumously in 1979. Jean Rhys died in 1979.
I would only suggest this book to someone interested in playing with critical theories in reading. It's complicated style reflects the thought which went into every sentance in the novel. It's not written to read, it's written to study and that takes all the interest out of it. The plot is thin, due to the development of the charactures and their place in the plot. This novel is all about people, if you enjoy drama and soap operas, then you'll LOVE this book. If you are more in tune to stories, and figuring out hidden ideas, then I don't suggest reading it. The essays in the back are interesting and the notes at the bottom of the pages are necessary!
Apr 27, 2007
Loved Wide Sargasso Sea
Loved getting the first Mrs. Rochester's point of view! "Jane Eyre" will always be a favorite of mine, but I wanted to know more about wife #1; once I discovered there was another book telling Antoinetta's story (Wide Sargasso Sea) I couldn't wait to read it! It lived up to my expectations, plus provided much info about the young Mr. Rochester. I would happily recommend this book to Charlotte Bronte fans.
Alibris, the Alibris logo, and Alibris.com are registered trademarks of Alibris, Inc.
Copyright in bibliographic data and cover images is held by Nielsen Book Services Limited, Baker & Taylor, Inc., or by their respective licensors, or by the publishers, or by their respective licensors. For personal use only. All rights reserved. All rights in images of books or other publications are reserved by the original copyright holders.